And a little drizzle did not prevent a great turnout for the second annual West Asheville Garden Stroll. If you missed this chance to be inspired by your neighbor’s garden in person, here is your chance in photos – click on this link.
Many, many thanks to all of you who made the second annual West Asheville Garden Stroll (WAGS) such a success! On a blessed rainy Saturday in September of 2010, many visitors from near and far enjoyed the gardens and celebrated West Asheville’s passion for gardening and connection!
Landscaping at the West Asheville library includes a mix of deciduous trees along the street and an eye-pleasing combination of shrubs and perennials around the building. Plantings include rhododendron, azalea, rose of Sharon, St. John’s wort, pansies, viola, ferns, lemon balm, salvia, coneflower, soapwort, gooseneck loosestrife, and many others. Plantings are maintained by volunteer gardener Tom Jordan with support from Asheville GreenWorks.
For three years, 15 families have been working cooperatively on a plot of about 1/4 acre, and they’re growing! This year, they added 10,000 square feet, a gazebo, a bean teepee, stone stairs, and a rainwater irrigation system. They’re growing potatoes, pumpkins, cutting flowers, basil, greens, tomatoes, melons, sweet potatoes, beets, asparagus, beans and more. For the first time this Fall, they’ll harvest honey from their two beehives. “We have monthly potlucks to which neighbors and friends are invited, and an annual harvest party in early October. We are accepting new cooperative members for our fall season.” Contact Jennifer@jmurphyart.com for more info.
After almost three years in the ongoing process of developing a garden, Katie Doan and Brian Abercrombie are beginning to get a sense of where their garden is going. Holding their intention to grow native plants and provide habitat for birds and pollinators, they have been removing the lawn (smothered with cardboard and mulch) and defining beds with a variety of found materials. Focus plants include an heirloom apple, walnut trees, berry-producing shrubs, as well as perennials and evergreens. Katie adds, “In addition to the visual delight of the wildlife, there is also a growing collection of ‘eye candy’ for humans, garden objects that amuse and delight, like the crazy paving walkway. We enjoy gardening and the rewards of feasting on some of the fruits of our labor.”
In four short years, but spending a lot of time in their garden, Richard and Wanda Baird have planted hundreds of bulbs, many diverse perennials, daylilies, and many varieties of the hostas. In their backyard, they enjoy a large koi pond with a hundred koi and a variety of water plants to keep them company. Early spring, when bulbs begin to sprout, brings the greatest joy to the Bairds. “Almost weekly, the colors change as the different plants come into bloom causing many compliments from passers-by. ‘Oh, I know where the Baird’s live, on Sulphur Springs…where all the beautiful flowers are!’”
In 2009 Val and David Kula began to transform what had been an overgrown rental into their West Asheville home. Redoing the entire house and adding an addition was followed by bulldozing weedy lawns to make a clean slate (and to tame overgrown bamboo) so Val could make the garden of her dreams. She poured over pictures, gathered memories of trees and shrubs she loved, and began to sketch out a vision. With help from B.B. Barnes’ Hunter Stubbs, this vision has unfolded. A longtime friend, Linda, an avid and creative gardener, also jumped in to help with perennials. Now say the Kulas,“We especially love stepping out and cutting various herbs for our meals and have so enjoyed eating dinners on the screened porch overlooking our beautiful and peaceful oasis.”
A few years back Amy & Eric Blau tilled up their entire front yard and planted a row of crape myrtles, Korean spice viburnum and American beauty bush. Now their garden includes native spring ephemerals such as jack-in-the-pulpit, trillium and Solomon’s seal. For summer color, they have planted a wide variety of daylilies and other lilies which are Amy’s favorites. Amy has also cultivated a few self-pollinating fruit trees, including cherry and peach, and built two raised beds for strawberries and blueberries. “I also plant castor beans every year which came from my granddad’s seed stock over 30 years ago.” Also, check out the tree house in the back yard built with a girlfriend for their kids, using wood recycled from an old deck.
Judith Beers’ backyard receives a lot of sun and it was perfect for an edible (and organic) garden. Removing the lawn, she installed raised beds which she filled with an eclectic mix of plants in her attempt to be more self-sufficient. She dug beds for herbs and bulbs, and over the years added fruit trees, berries, asparagus, perennial flowers, as well as annually planted vegetable and flower starts. Judith says her garden responds to her intention to “have beauty around me, experiment, and feed my soul.” She adds, “ Come visit!”
This garden was started end of May, 2010, as a demonstration project to show part of the process of converting lawn to gardens. Specifically, Jim Smith used sheet-mulching (aka lasagna gardening), where layering of cardboard, newspaper and straw and/or alfalfa hay initiates a process of transformation. Visitors can see the difference this system made in just three months in before and after areas. In connection with this, Jim plans to discuss the ideas behind a soil biological process called the “soil food web” with anyone interested. He tells us, “I will also show how to integrate composting into a garden, give advice on the use of organic amendments, and offer ideas for inter-planting.” Note: Compost bins will also be for sale at this site.
In Bryan Freeborn and Bridgett O’Hara’s garden, kids pick and eat beans, berries, tomatoes and mint leaves and even catch bugs to feed their toads. It all began in 2004 by ripping up the grass and planting sunflowers in the front yard which attracted tiny yellow gold finches and squirrels to feast. On the South side of the yard, small raised beds grow greens, veggies, and strawberries. Abundant hops, raspberries and wine berries line the sunny fence row. On the North side, native paw-paw trees and an elderberry flourish. “Our garden is not the Martha Stewart, fancy garden from a magazine. We enjoy growing it and playing in it. During the Stroll, enjoy a kid-run lemonade-with-a-twist stand and free paw-paw seeds while they last.”